Finally Get to Sleep

SleepSleep. It’s the elusive thing we drool about like we used to drool over chocolate cake and celebrity crushes. But the more we hear about its importance (e.g. a deficient amount causes everything from diabetes to heart disease not to mention exacerbating anxiety and depression.), the harder it is to surrender to slumber.

Insomnia has always been an wanted visitor in my house. But with two little kids, it seems ever present. The fear of inadequate sleep and having to take care of them turns nighttime into a battle. I worry about having enough energy to catch up after them. I worry that I will never heal from my illness. And then it’s morning and my fears have come true.

If you’re like me struggling with sleep, wanting it, but not knowing how to get it, I’ve gathered a few tips from experts. Let me know if you like it, tried it and if it helps.

This Very Well article talks about everything on sleep and insomnia. Scroll down to get to the good part-actual treatments for sleep. There are things there you might have already heard of like naps, aromatherapy and sleep environment, but there are a few I’ve never heard of. Click on chronotherapy, for example, and find out how delaying sleep by two to three hours can actually be beneficial or sleep restriction, restricting how long you’re actually in bed can increase your sleep efficiency.

I also recommend listening to Jeff Goins podcast The Portfolio Life, in case you’re not already. While he talks about a lot of relevant topics for creatives, this one in particular addresses sleep. In it, he interviews health and sleep expert Shawn Stevenson about the critical importance of sleep, and how to get it. If you’re a busy mom who doesn’t have time to listen to the whole thing, here are the highlights:

  1. Exercise in the morning. Even 5 minutes is enough to get you to sleep better at night.
  2. Eliminate caffeine or limit it to the morning. The effect of caffeine can last up to 6 hours after you drink it.
  3. Turn off electronics before bed. Research shows the light from it shuts down melatonin, which you need to get a restful night’s rest. There is a software called f.lux, which can help block out the blue glow from your computer.
  4. Create a bedtime routine. Yes it’s another thing we do for our kids, which we don’t do for ourselves. But consistent routine sets our mind and body for sleep.
  5. Your gut can affect sleep. Digestion is imperative for restful sleep. There are several articles online on how to clean up your gut.

Arianna Huffington published a book called, “The Sleep Revolution” and Shawn Stevenson also has a book called, “Sleep Smarter.” I have yet to read these, but will be in my to-read cue. If you’ve read one or both, please let me know what you think.

Happy slumber!


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Loving What You Got

{flickr photo by QuinnDombrowski}

{flickr photo by QuinnDombrowski}

It’s not always easy to look down at your cracked shoes, your too light wallet, your larger-than-life thighs and say to yourself, “Gee, I love my life!”

But I’m going to tell you why it’s hard not to.

Even though you could list hundreds of things you don’t like about yourself, your situation, your life, there is within every single person so many GOOD reasons to legitimately say, “Thank you!” And it’s all the things you think you hate about your life that actually make it so.

It’s me when I’m being too vocal, expressing my distaste for a certain food or dislike for a restaurant. In afterthought, I cringe wishing that I could have swallowed my voice instead of spoke up. It makes me feel too diva-ish, too brash, too much. But it’s also the thing I love most about myself if only I allowed myself to embrace it.

You might find that same conflict within yourself. The thing you criticize about someone else-they’re too judgmental, complain-y, immature, etc.-are the very shadows that you try to hide within yourself. There’s a fear that if you were to let that aspects of your self out, you would be teased or worse hated. In Care of the Soul (a book that found me in Glen Ellen, California, in a “keep-a-book, give-a-book library”), Thomas Moore says:

“It appears to me that as we open ourselves to see what our soul is made of and who we really are, we always find some material that is a profound challenge.”

And oftentimes what makes us feel ugly and weird are actually just reasons for celebration. Why? It provides evidence of our uniqueness, our individuality, what makes us different. And sometimes that can be the answers to our life purpose.

Maybe I’m not supposed to stay small and quiet, but to be bold and expressive. And letting that side out is the only way I can release my fears and express my soul’s purpose.

That isn’t to say every bad habit or behavior is justified. But it’s also not about repressing or hating them either. In silencing our inner complainer, for example, we may be neglecting ourselves. Moore says the way toward healing is through love. And that means loving even the so-called hard parts and then listening to why they are there.

Holocaust survivor, Nobel Laureate, and writer Elie Wiesel said on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday:

“Whatever you do in life remember, think higher and feel deeper.”

I believe it’s only in completely surrendering to who we are in this moment that we can completely live and love our life. If we do anything less than that, we will miss our calling. We miss our purpose for being here. We become disconnected from our truth because we’re too wrapped up into what we don’t have, what we never got, and why so-and-so is so much better than us.

Thinking higher means we grasp onto an elevated way of thinking of our lives and our self. Feeling deeper means that we don’t hold back. We feel the highest of highs and lowest of lows and know that if we stay true to who we are, we will always land on our feet.

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